Two games into the 2020 season, the Iowa Hawkeyes looked like a football team that had lost direction. Many uncharacteristic things were happening to Kirk Ferentz’s squad, whether that came from offseason changes or the delayed start to the Big Ten football season, many were questioning where the Iowa program was going. The Hawkeyes responded by a return to playing smashmouth, Iowa Hawkeye football.
Iowa reeled off six consecutive, dominating wins to finish the season 6-2. While, Iowa’s final two games were canceled due to COVID-19, the Hawkeyes had clear momentum going into the offseason. Kirk Ferentz enter season #23 in Iowa City, the dean of FBS coaches has an offense that is ready to breakout, and a back seven as good as any in college football.
Iowa’s workhorse will be running back Tyler Goodson, who became the first All-Big Ten back for the Hawkeyes since Shonn Greene in 2008. Spencer Petras will look to make a huge jump from year one to year two, but showed a lot of promised in the final 2 games of 2020. Receiving threats include tight end Sam LaPorta and wide receivers Nico Ragaini, Tyrone Tracy and true freshman Keagan Johnson. Iowa’s offensive line, while losing both offensive tackles, returns one of the nation’s best individual linemen in center Tyler Linderbaum.
Defensively, the Hawkeyes are rather green up front, losing the Big Ten Defensive Player of the Year in defensive tackle Dayvion Nixon to the NFL Draft. Phil Parker’s defense does return All-Big Ten defensive end Zach VanValkenburg, and a loaded back seven. The linebacking core of Jack Campbell, Seth Benson and Jestin Jacobs has a chance to become an elite group. The defensive backfield of Matt Hankins, Riley Moss, Dane Belton, Jack Koerner, Kaevon Merriweather, Terry Roberts and UNI-transfer Xavior Williams, forms one of the deepest secondaries in Kirk Ferentz’s tenure.
The Hawkeyes open their season against #17 Indiana at Kinnick Stadium on Saturday, September 4th, kickoff is slated for 2:30 PM.